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KINO: Don't you forget us #12

Twelfth instalment in my forgotten/dismissed/underappreciated Post-Punk bands list series: This time around we're digging into one of the most legendary Russian bands ever, Kino. But in all confessional, only about one or two of these records are actual Post-Punk and New Wave records, but it is worth it doing the list for them.
8Kino (Rus)
Nachalnik Kamchatki

The difference between this album and the one preceding it, 45, is exponential. While 45 was just Tsoi's exercise in songwriting mastery with as simple an instrumental side as possible, the minimalism on Nachalnik Kamchatki is rather intentional. It's the band's strange detour into No Wave and Minimal Wave (mostly the latter) and I am not entirely sure it worked out. The album, while certainly solid, does not feel particularly organnised or having a clear vision of what it wants to achieve musically.

Go-to tracks: Trankvilizator, Gost', Trolleybus
7Kino (Rus)

Just one album away from their seminal record and still so far away in quality. This is that strange middle ground for the band, where it isn't quite as simplistic, but also fun and sweet as their first offerings, but still not as complete as their later releases. Much like Eto ne liubov... or Nachalnik Kamchatki, the band here tries to be as Pop-oriented as possible, but comes off rather awkwardly.

Go-to tracks: Tvoy nomer, Tanets, Noch, Mama-Anarkhiya, Zvyozdy ostanutsa zdes'
6Kino (Rus)
Eto ne liubov'

This came after the strange off-course stray of Nachalnik Kamchatki and was a much welcome return to form. Acoustic guitar made its comeback, as well as Tsoi's songwriting became steady again and didn't get lost behind the walls of minimal synth deterioration. But somehow the band on here still doesn't quitepick up the pace and the album feels then most mellow and inoffensive. I can't quite accuse them of making it accessible, because there was no such thing as major financial success in Soviet Union, but it definitely feels mild and harmless. Might easily be the poppiest of their records.

Go-to tracks: Eto ne liubov', Prosnis, Deti prohodnykh dvorov, Muzyka voln, Razreshi mne...
5Kino (Rus)

Early years, still not entirely shaped sound, but already in its active formation. This album is still a little far from any Post-Punk or New Wave the band would actively excel at later in their career. This is prety much mostly just Viktor Tsoi alone with a guitar and his impeccable songwriting and occasional minimalistic instrumental additions. But I must again and again empathise the 'impeccable singwriting'.

Go-to tracks: Vremya yest' a deneg net, Prosto khochesh ty znat', Bezdelnik, Moi druz'ya, Derevo, Bitnik
4Kino (Rus)

This is what Nachalnik Kamchatki came out of. And even though this is essentially not an album, but just a compilation of demos and musical concepts that would be expanded upon later, it still sounds much fuller that the aforementioned album that came after it. The guitar layers suit the songs much better than a synth-electronic arrangement and the melodies are not lost anymore and they are ever so striking.

Go-to tracks: Trolleybus, Kamchatka, Trankvilizator, Dozhd' dlya nas, Muzyka voln (the longer version)
3Kino (Rus)
Zvezda po imeni Solnce

A logical continuation of the major success that was Gruppa krovi. In that, the band keeps on going on that Post-Punk/New Wave track and doesn't even think about returning to the past half-assed Pop-Rock oddity that signified their career up to that point. And as exprcted, this album is a decent addition to their catalogue. It may not be as strong melodically as Gruppa krovi, but it definitely is a solid collection of tunes, each properly gloomy and melancholic.

Go-to tracks: Pesnya bez slov, Zvezda po imeni Solnce, Mesto dlya shaga vperiod, Pachka sigaret
2Kino (Rus)

Posthumous albums tend to be either a disgrace or a moving tribute to a fallen artist, never anything inbetween. Viktor Tsoi's tragic death in 1990 went over like a wave of slaps to the Russian public. And their final album, fittingly self-titled, is rather the latter instance of a posthumous release. It's a rock-solid collection of lyrical and atmospheric high that can proudly stand even on the same level as Gruppa krovi.

Go-to tracks: Konchitsa leto, Krasno-zholtye dni, Kukushka, Muraveynik, Sledi za soboy
1Kino (Rus)
Gruppa krovi

You cannot even imagine what this album meant to the Russian musical scene. I don't even think the band had any intentions to create an essential Post-Punk album, but that is exactly what they got with their soft and pointy drumming, creeping synths, disintegrating bass, atmospheric melodies and Viktor Tsoi's deep vocals, which he reportedly recorded wearing a bucket on his head, in order to sound even more distant. And because it was not exactly meant to be of that particular genre it sounds so oddly similar, yet also not like anything else. But intentional or not, this album is Post-Punk/New Wave all throughout. And one cannot deny its value not just to the world of Russian music, but to Post-Punk in general.

Go-to tracks: Gruppa krovi, Zakroy za mnoy dver', Mama my vse tyazhelo bolny, Boshetunmay, V nashikh glazakh, Poprobuy spet' vmeste so mnoy, Legenda
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